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Transport and travelling

transport New Zealand is a land of cars.

Several factors have influenced our preference for the automobile.  The most obvious one is that only the car has been able to provide convenient access to almost every part of the country – at a convenient time and pace.

Given the country’s often complicated geography, it is usually far cheaper to put in a road than a railway line. Most transport, including bulk freight, is by road in New Zealand.

Coastal shipping was the original backbone of the transport network, and is still preferred by some.

Domestic air travel is well established with regular connections to all cities and most provincial towns. 

Two decades ago the cost of domestic air travel and the high daily cost of car rental encouraged many Kiwis to drive almost everywhere – even if it meant several hours each way to visit friends or family for a weekend.

However budget flight and rental car deals mean that now many more people chose to fly then drive.

Public transport in New Zealand is clean and reliable. While the services are not extensive by international standards, central and local government planners are working to improve this. Public transport is expected to be of increasing importance in the next 50 years

The average New Zealand family now has two to three cars. Second-hand cars are quite cheap as New Zealand is well supplied with used cars from the Japanese market.

Connecting the North and South Islands.

Two ferry services offer daily crossings of the Cook Strait. Both services have an online booking service. For more information visit and

How New Zealanders travel

For more information about New Zealand’s travel habits you can read the on-going study being conducted by the Ministry of Transport, How New Zealanders Travel (Trends in New Zealand household travel 1989 – 2008)

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